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Unveiling the Enigmatic Realms of Faith: Exploring ‘THE BELIEVERS’ by Glenville Ashby, Ph.D.

“The Believers” by Glenville Ashby, Ph.D., delves into the fascinating world of spirituality and belief systems, particularly within the context of the Caribbean diaspora in Queens, New York. Through interviews and narratives, the author cap.tures the essence of spirituality and how it is viewed by devotees of the Spiritual Baptist and Orisa communities.

The book transports readers to a lively evening in St James, Trinidad, where the author presented the work to an eager and engaged audience. The engaging encounter and the passionate debates that followed highlighted the vivid and often contested content of the book. Dr. Ashby aptly reminds the audience that the material presented is a narrative capturing the beliefs, feelings, and perceptions of those interviewed, acknowledging the inherent complexity of Caribbean religions and the diversity of perspectives.

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The central theme revolves around spirituality as a utilitarian tool, offering solutions to life’s challenges and uncertainties. The believers portrayed in the book view faith through a practical lens, seeking to navigate the complexities of life, society, and economics by tapping into otherworldly practices. This exploration gives rise to a shadow society, a concealed culture within the broader societal landscape, where believers adroitly blend within the normative and subcultural norms.

Although the setting is Queens, New York, the experiences portrayed resonate with the broader psycho-religious construct prevalent since ancient times. The book convincingly argues that across cultures and eras, humanity has sought to interact with unseen forces, be they supernal or demonic, through rites and rituals. This mastery of surroundings takes on a Herculean quality, leaning more towards the occult than religious orthodoxy. Dr. Ashby compellingly describes how these practitioners create their own syncretic blend of beliefs, tailored for maximum effect, using whatever means necessary to retaliate against challenges and uncertainties.

“The Believers” offers a thought-provoking exploration of spirituality, belief systems, and the intricate ways in which individuals seek to navigate the complexities of life. Dr. Glenville Ashby provides readers with a captivating narrative, inviting them to contemplate the multifaceted nature of faith and the role it plays in our lives. This book is a valuable addition to the literature on spirituality, shedding light on the often elusive and enigmatic realm of belief systems within the Caribbean diaspora and beyond.

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